Colletta Smith demonstrates how you can save energy at home
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Winter is still officially a few days away, but it seems like the winter weather is already upon us. With skyrocketing energy bills, many are eager to know how to keep their home heated on a budget. There are a few ways to keep areas of the home warm, however, some are more effective than others. Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Dave Raval, home heating expert and LoftZone Chief Executive, who shared some of the best ways to keep homes insulated so that they can retain heat for longer.
According to Dave, the first thing that households should do is check for any draughts. If they find them they should seal them immediately.
He said: “Seal your draughts! It is the first thing you should do. Run your hand over each window and door on a cold evening and see if there are any draughts.
“If there are, the most effective way to keep warm is to seal them the next morning with simple foam-style insulating tape that you can find from any DIY store or online – these should only cost a £1 or two per window or door.
“Also use thicker curtains if you have them and consider door curtains – these used to be fashionable, because they worked!”
Loft insulation is another great way to keep a home warm whilst also “saving money” on energy bills.
The heating expert said: “Don’t squash your loft insulation! Loft insulation works by trapping air.”
The Government now recommends a minimum insulation depth of 270mm which is nearly a foot and much taller than the joists in lofts.
Dave warned: “If you compress the insulation with boxes or boards down to joist height, then that at least halves its effectiveness – potentially doubling heat loss. But we all live in crowded homes and many people want to use their loft for storage. A good solution is to use a raised loft boarding system.
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“A raised loft system works by creating a raised platform for boarding to rest on above the insulation while allowing it to retain its full depth to help with your energy savings. Loftzone’s raised loft boarding StoreFloor is an ideal solution to help you prepare for the energy crisis and save money.”
Households should also consider window insulation if they struggle with keeping their home warm and Dave noted that this can be done with bubble wrap.
The heating guru said: “It’s often surprising to many people, but one of the best insulators is air. Double glazing works by having air (or a vacuum) between the panes. Loft insulation rolls work by being fluffy and trapping air between them (though you mustn’t squash your loft insulation with boxes or boards as this gets rid of the air and halves the insulation’s effectiveness, potentially doubling heat loss).
“Bubble wrap works in the same way and is especially effective on single-glazed windows. The bubble wrap with bigger bubbles is better than the smaller bubble type, since there is more air in the same area.”
However, Dave urged households to watch out for condensation forming on the wrap, and potentially mould. He said: “If that happens, replace the bubble wrap as mould can be harmful to health.”
For those who do decide to switch on their central heating, the expert advised keeping the thermostat “between 18 and 21 degrees”.
He explained: “Most people set their thermostats at 21 degrees for a pleasant cosy home. You can go a few degrees below that if you are happy, but don’t go below 18 degrees, as science tells us that this is the tipping point whereby the body starts to divert blood away from your extremities (such as your arms, legs, head and brain) to keep your core organs, such as your heart and liver, at the correct temperature they need.
“So at anything less than 18 degrees, your hands and feet, and your arms and legs will feel cool, as blood is diverted away from them, and your brain will function more slowly, for the same reason.”
When households do switch on their central heating and want to enhance it, they should consider installing a shelf or a fan above radiators. Dave said: “Adding a shelf directly above a radiator does enhance the radiator’s ability to disperse heat more evenly, but a radiator fan will do an even better job.
“Radiators mostly work by heating up the temperature of the air around them. Hot air rises, and so your warm air will initially go up to the ceiling and fill that space. Only then, and assuming there are no leaks around downlights or anything else in the ceiling, will the warm air slowly fill the space below it.
“Eventually it will reach your head and, last of all, your feet! Putting a shelf in the way blocks this air from rising straight up, and forces it sideways, at least for a bit.
“But even better is to buy a cheap radiator fan; these literally go on top of your radiator and blow the warm air sideways onto you, rather than letting it all rise to the top of your room. They are particularly useful if you have large rooms or if you want to feel warm quickly if the heating has been off for a while.”
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